NHS workers are to stage a protest in Dorchester to draw attention to their claims for pay justice.

After being clapped by ministers during the first wave of the Covid pandemic, health workers say they have been refused a pay rise - unlike their counterparts in both France and Germany who have been awarded a minimum increase of £2,000 a year. 

A national campaign group - NHS workers say NO - together with Unite the Union, is calling for a pay rise of 15 per cent or £3,000 for all health workers.

A symbolic, socially-distanced protest will take place at the War Memorial in South Street, Dorchester, at 11am on Saturday, October 17.

NHS dietitian and Dorset campaigner Lynne Hubbard said: “Health staff are shocked and angry to hear that while we get nothing, MPs are to be awarded a pay rise of £3,360 a year - that’s on top of a basic salary of £81,932 and before their expenses for travel and the £10,000 they can claim for working from home during the pandemic.

Dorset Echo: Dorset County Hospital

“In the last 10 years the pay gap between MPs and health workers has really grown. MPs have had an increase of over £15,000, even before the latest increase. A nurse at the top of the middle grade, Band 5, has seen less than a fifth of that. The figures speak for themselves.

“As we approach a second wave, health workers don’t feel valued by the government and many fear going to the front line again.”

Amnesty International has reported that more than 640 health workers have died during the pandemic in the UK – the highest total in Europe. A poll in July of this year found that one in three nurses are considering leaving the profession and that a third of newly qualified nurses leave the profession within two years.

Lynne Hubbard says: “Pay and conditions are a real issue and the government needs to listen. Clapping won’t pay the bills, Boris.”